The mechanisms of exercise provocation of supraventricular tachycardia

San Jou Yeh, Fun Chung Lin, Delon Wu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

10 Scopus citations


Treadmill exercise tests, electrophysiologic studies, and isoproterenol infusions were performed in 14 patients with exercise provocable supraventricular tachycardia to delineate the mechanisms of exercise provocation of paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia. Treadmill exercise tests reproducibly provoked supraventricular tachycardia in all patients. Supraventricular tachycardia similar to that provoked by exercise occurred spontaneously during isoproterenol infusions in 9 of 11 patients tested. The specific supraventricular tachycardia diagnoses of all patients were atrial reentrant tachycardia (two patients), automatic atrial tachycardia (three), atrial flutter-fibrillation (one), atypical junctional tachycardia (two), and orthodromic atrioventricular (AV) reentrant tachycardia (six) as defined by electrophysiologic studies. Various mechanisms of exercise or isoproterenol induction of supraventricular tachycardia were identified. A critical heart rate and/or appropriate sympathetic state was found to provoke all instances of reentrant or automatic atrial tachycardia and atypical junctional tachycardia. A properly timed atrial premature beat provoked five of six cases of AV reentrant tachycardia and the only case of atrial flutter-fibrillation. The remaining case of AV reentrant tachycardia was induced by a ventricular premature beat. In conclusion, the mechanisms of exercise provocation of reentrant or automatic supraventricular tachycardia are multiple and include a critical sinus rate, increased sympathetic tone, and properly timed atrial or ventricular premature beats.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1041-1049
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Heart Journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - 05 1989
Externally publishedYes


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